Interview with Alteras Vocalist: Jake Clasen
with Song River
Song River: Relatively early on in your music careers you have decided to create a concept album. Why?
Jake Clasen: Oddly enough, when we started writing “Grief” it wasn’t intentionally conceptual at first. The lyrics were being written during a low point in my life and while writing them I had this realization. Everyone grieves, it’s both necessary and difficult. After finishing the lyrics to “Could Ever Love”, I decided I wanted to lyric a collection that is sympathetic to the grieving process; a tool for anyone going through difficult times. Thus the concept of Grief was born.
SR: There is a definite maturity in sound and songwriting, or maybe not maturity but a switch from 2015 Shapeshifter to 2016 release Grief. Shapeshifter seems to grasp the post-hardcore metal sound more so. What do you think?
JC: We definitely allowed ourselves to free up when writing Grief. After Shapeshifter, we realized that our sound doesn’t have to be so restrictive. We stopped writing to fit a genre and instead starting writing to fit Alteras. We decided to never fight change and instead embrace it.
SR: If you could put your “creative vision” in a few words what is it you see for Alteras?
JC: Visual, emotional, and musical integrity. Everything we do we strive to be transparent. We do as much as we can on our own when it’s possible. We designed our logo, filmed and edited our music videos, and generated much of our own merchandise. Alteras isn’t just a band to us, it’s our brand and lifestyle.
SR: The tracks from Grief deal with almost every scenario possible. How much did each song really connect to each one of you on a personal level?
JC: Grief helped each of us in our own way. It was quite literally a documented journal of real thoughts and emotions I felt at the time. So you could certainly say it was very personal.
SR: As you build your community, the fans always can sense what is genuine and what isn’t. Do band’s sense that as well from their fans?
JC: Our relationship with our fans so far has been fantastic. We’ve met so many amazing individuals and are excited by the thought of the people we have yet to meet. We absolutely like to think that everyone is genuine until they’ve proven to be otherwise.
SR: How do you go through the muck at times of who is really there to be on board, a team player, and who is just there to be seen?
JC: The great thing about the group of guys we have now is that we’re all team players. We all work very hard at what we do. Whether the effort is seen in writing, designing merchandise, booking shows, or making use of social media to make connections with our fans, we all are consistently and actively involved with the life of this band.
SR: How did Revival Recordings happen?
JC: Our manager, Nicholas Mishko, had actually worked with them previously. He sent our new album, Grief, over to Shawn (Alesana) and I guess he liked what he heard! We’ve had nothing but great experiences working with them so far on building our initial release, they’re a powerhouse of ideas and have been very supportive of our creative visions. Alteras is very excited to be embarking on this journey with Revival Recordings in our corner.
SR: What is it you want to bring to this label and what is it this label is bringing to Alteras?
JC: Alteras wants to bring creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication to building success with our label. Revival has reciprocated that drive and has shown no signs of slowing down.
SR: The vocals- both clean and unclean- are some of the purest on the rise. How did all of you come together to form Alteras and if you were to write a mission statement that embraces who all of you are and what you are bringing… what would it say?
JC: Alteras came together as a group of musicians all from the Youngstown area that really had the passion and drive to make music our life. We’re all passionate in what we do and firmly believe that we have to embrace our ambitions and try to accomplish our dreams, even if they scare us.
SR: East coast tour dates set, any west coast in the works?
JC: As of right now, we have a few things in the works but nothing we can talk about just yet!
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